**The following is a Facebook post made by 2004 International Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee J Russell Peltz of Peltz Promotions
Lost in the weekend’s shuffle of a bunch of TV fights featuring boxers with pretty records fighting in venues that had absolutely nothing to do with where they came from, was an event Friday evening in Tucson, AZ, that makes me think there is a future in boxing after all.
A sold out crowd of 1,686 wildly enthusiastic fans packed the Convention Center at the beautiful Casino del Sol to watch a non-televised, seven-fight card between youngsters fighting as if their careers depended on the outcome.
This masterpiece of an evening was put together by Raging Babe (aka Michelle Rosado) and her staff which included sister Jenny Rosado, the equally hard-working Emily Pandelakis and Mike Sanchez. RB made the main event and co-feature and she went out and marketed the card in grass-roots fashion with the last four tickets being sold 30 minutes before the doors opened. Sadly, the Fire Marshall made us turn away more than 200 people trying to buy tickets at the door. When that happened, I needed an EKG.
Of the 12 fighters in the six fights prior to the main event, three were making their pro debut. The other nine had boxed a total of 30 times, an average of just over three fights each. We had one knockout, one majority decision, two split decisions (in the semifinal and main event) and three unanimous decisions.
Here lies the key: Of the 14 fighters on the card, 11 were from Arizona–eight from Tucson, two from Phoenix, one from Sierra Vista.
The main event had a familiar ring to it just as it should in every city in the country: Tucson vs. Tucson. Sound familiar Ken Hissner and George H. Hanson Jr.?
Junior welterweights Wilberth Lopez (on the left in the photo) and Alfonso Olvera put on a mini-war with Lopez taking a split decision after eight toe-to-toe rounds. When asked if he would give Olvera a rematch, Lopez said: “Why not? Olvera gave me the shot tonight so I will give him one in return.” How often do you hear that in the 21st century? For the record, Lopez is 11-4-1, 4 K0s; Olvera is 22-10, 15 K0s, and both would love to work with Raging Babe in the future.
The Casino del Sol boxing commission was wonderful. I was there to put out any last-minute forest fires but mostly to lend moral support to Raging Babe, not that there are any morals in this business.
Local fighters fighting in their hometowns has been the recipe for success in boxing ever since David took out Goliath. It remains one of the biggest mistakes the PBC made on their way to squandering more than five hundred millions dollars by matching fighters, for example, from Miami Beach against fighters from Boston and staging the card in some God-forsaken casino in Oklahoma. Guess what? It still goes on today as we have a slew of promoters too fu#*ing lazy to go out and do what Raging Babe did in Tucson–make the local matches, pound the pavement, grab the sponsors, work the social media til your fingers turn red, and dot every “i” and cross every “t” on your way to the event.
Raging Babe will be back in Atlantic City to help me and Top Rank with the Aug. 18 Blockbuster on The Boardwalk at the Ocean Resort Casino (Bryant By-By Jennings, Jesse Hard Work Hart, Jason Sosa, Christian Carto, Thomas LaManna, Joseph Adorno). One week later, she will be back in Glendale, AZ, with me and Top Rank, for the Aug. 25 card at the Gila River Arena, featuring Ray Beltran and Isaac Dogboe in separate title fights. Both cards are on ESPN.
Raging Babe is the James Brown of our sport (i.e. the hardest-working person in the business). She makes me wanna fall in love with boxing all over again.